SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are valuable, powerful business tools seem to be similar as both are geared towards generating traffic to the website, but when we look the terms deeply these are absolutely different traffic generation method.
The major difference between SEO and SEM is that SEO emphasises on improving a website in order to enhance its organic search engine rankings. Furthermore, SEO is a primary organic ranking strategy behind SEM. In contrast, SEM generates traffic through various resources such as paid marketing and SEO is also included in SEM.
Content: SEO Vs SEM
|Basis for comparison||SEO||SEM|
|Expands to||Search Engine Optimization||Search Engine Marketing|
|Meaning||It is a method used for maximising the number of visitors of a website by ensuring the higher position of the site by optimising the search.||It is an online marketing technique which involves promotion of the website by increasing visibility of the site in SERPs with the help of optimisation and advertising.|
|Relationship||SEO is a part of SEM.||SEM is a broad term used for traffic generation and is a superset of SEO.|
|Traffic Volume||Controllable||Obscure and long-term|
|Search type||Natural (Organic)||Paid|
Definition of SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a technique used for ranking a website in a good position and increase the visibility of the website so that it could be easily found on the internet. In other words, it improves the website organic search engine rankings. Here the organic refers to the free service. An optimised website is more easily recognised by Search Engine Crawlers which results in improving the rank of the website in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Google uses 205 criteria to evaluate which website belongs at the top of the Google search results for any particular keyword.
SEO can be optimised in two ways, Off-site SEO and On-site SEO. On-site SEO refers to optimize the website by correctly spreading the keywords throughout the website and making the structure (Web page, titles, tags, content, etc) of the website as good as possible which also complement the target keyword. Off-site SEO refers to getting the quality links from other high ranking websites to build up trust from the standpoint of a search engine.
The tasks performed for optimising the search are:
- Keyword research and proper use of those keywords on the website.
- Writing contents according to the need of the visitors.
- Optimizing the web pages to minimise the load time.
- Making the navigation simple yet intensive for the users.
- Building quality backlinks to your website from other domains.
- Constructing ways for visitors to visit more pages, spend more time on the site and decrease bounce rate.
Definition of SEM
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is an umbrella term used for paid or unpaid search marketing in which a business pays the search engine to show their ads in the search results. SEM involves paid search (cost per click or pay per click) and organic SEO. The prior search engine queries statistics are analysed by the marketers to determine most effective keywords for the company’s to use it for the promotional campaign.
The keywords are the fundamental part, which forms the basis of the Search Engine Marketing as an advertising strategy. That is the reason, before choosing the keyword for the SEM campaigns, one must perform comprehensive research as a part of the keyword management strategy to get the better results. In SEM the ads show up in the SERPs near to the organic listing which provides an opportunity for the company to increase the visibility of its website.
Search Engine Marketing Strategies
- SEO (Organic SEM) – In this technique, the traffic is generated without using paid search.
- Paid SEM – This is the technique where the user pays for generating the traffic on their sites. For example, PPC (Pay Per Click) and CPC (Cost Per Click).
The tasks performed in SEM
- Launching the ad campaign with the intent of reaching to a specific audience.
- Creating ad groups that have various target keyword.
- Ad budget setting.
- Monitoring SEM metrics such as clicks, impressions, click through rates, etc.
Key Differences Between SEO and SEM
- SEO means to optimise a website page content and visibility in order to gain the natural higher listing on the SERP. Conversely, SEM involves promotion of the websites to increase visibility and traffic in SERP’s.
- SEM involves two techniques unpaid (free) and paid marketing. Unpaid marketing is implemented using SEO, so SEO is a part of SEM.
- SEM traffic volume is controllable and rely on the amount that a person can pay or bid for the online marketing. In contrast, SEO is obscure to predict the traffic beforehand, and it also takes a lot of time as compared to SEM.
- The SEO is an organic (free) search strategy while SEM is usually a paid strategy.
- SEM is expensive although it is cost-effective technique. As against, SEO doesn’t require additional cost, unlike SEM.
SEO emphasises on organic (free) search results or gaining the top position on the list when a user searches keyword on search engine relevant to your website. On the other hand, in SEM the emphasis is on choosing the appropriate keyword to invest advertising money so that the ad would appear in the paid search results on major search engines.